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Medical

Gene-editing tool may prevent blindness

A team of researchers is working to turn the powerful CRISPR gene-editing tool towards treating a serious eye disease. Early results are promising, with the team successfully correcting the mutation that causes the condition in cells outside the body.Read More

Lab-made liver tissue may be used for drug screening

Laboratory-engineered liver tissue could be extremely useful, helping doctors to screen new drugs, and it could even one day be used for transplants. Unfortunately, it's also very difficult to replicate the organ's complex structure and functions outside of the human body. Now, researchers from China's Northwest A&F University have managed to construct artificial tissue that's proving effective at mimicking the real thing.Read More

Encapsulated cells could free diabetics from insulin injections

Type 1 diabetes patients have to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels, regularly injecting insulin to make sure they stay healthy. Not only is this a burden for patients, but it can also be difficult to get right, often resulting in long-term medical problems. A team of researchers, including scientists from MIT, has been working on a better system. They're developing a transplantable capsule that can carry cells able to replace the patient's lost ability to produce insulin, and that isn't rejected or rendered useless by the host's body.Read More

Nanoparticles used to take on late-stage liver cancer

Treating late-stage liver cancer can be extremely difficult, with drugs that prove effective in healthy organs causing high levels of toxicity when introduced to cirrhotic livers. A newly-developed nanoparticle delivery system could improve the situation, with early tests showing it to be effective as a non-toxic treatment in experiments with laboratory mice.Read More

Brain scans could head off depression

A simple brain scan could identify children at risk of suffering from depression later in life, according to a new study. If implemented, the early warning test could allow doctors to carry out treatment prior to the first instance of depression, making it less likely that the patient will suffer further bouts.Read More

Blocking key protein puts the brakes on leukaemia

Our body has controls in place to regulate how cells grow and divide, which is a particularly useful mechanism in preventing the spread of disease. But when it comes to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), an aggressive form of blood cancer, these controls are neutralized, giving the cancer cells free rein to multiply and grow uncontrollably. Australian researchers have now discovered a protein that drives this process, and have shown that by blocking its activity they might be able to stop the deadly form of cancer in its tracks.Read More

New pulse-tracking tech does away with wearable sensors

Keeping an eye on one's heart rate is a big part of fitness tracking, with wearables from the Apple Watch to dedicated chest straps delivering the feature to users. But what if you could get the benefits of heartbeat sensing without even having to strap on a piece of tech? A team of researchers from the Kyoto University, together with Panasonic, is working on making that dream a reality, utilizing millimeter-wave radar tech and a specially-designed algorithm.Read More

Light-activated quantum dots successfully combat drug-resistant bacteria

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are an increasingly big problem for global health. They kill in excess of 23,000 people in the US every year, with their ability to rapidly develop an immunity to antibiotic treatments making them extremely difficult to eradicate. Now, new research being conducted at the University of Colorado Boulder has found that tiny light-activated particles known as quantum dots might be useful in tackling the infections.Read More

Electrically-trained muscle cells get damaged hearts pumping

Repairing damaged hearts with healthy cells derived from the patient's own skin or blood is a promising approach to tackling cardiovascular disease, but it does have its limitations. Difficulty in getting the young, freshly implanted cells to integrate and beat in-synch with the surrounding muscle has so far held the technique back. Now scientists are reporting an important advance in this area, demonstrating for the first time that electrically stimulating the new cells can give their development a critical boost. Read More

MRIs could soon be quicker and safer

While MRI scans may not expose patients to the ionizing radiation found in X-rays, they still are potentially harmful. This is because the increased radiofrequency energy absorption associated with newer high-field and ultra-high-field MRI scanners can heat body tissue. Thanks to research being conducted at the Australian National University, however, that may soon no longer be an issue – additionally, scans could be quicker and produce higher-quality images.Read More

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